Businessmen Bid For West Ham United

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 111 months ago
Businessmen Bid For West Ham United

Photo / Egghead06
Former Birmingham City chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold are to buy into West Ham United, according to reports.

The pair, who famously bought the Midlands club for a quid before selling it for £82 million earlier this year, originally considered a £25-30 million buyout of the east London club, with an explicit agreement to shoulder some of the clubs substantial debts. But such a fee doesn't come nearing to matching the valuation of Icelandic bank Straumur, the majority stakeholder in CB Holdings who currently own West Ham; they price the club at £80 million which, added to the estimated £40 million in debt, totals £120 million.

BBC Sport are reporting that the duo may instead take a substantial shareholding for a nominal fee, allowing them to invest in the club's assets (i.e, new players in January) and offer their expertise, then buy the club outright at a later date, when the financial waters are less inclement. CB Holding have set a deadline of this Friday for a buyer to come forward

West Ham's time under Icelandic ownership has been little short of disastrous. Eggert Magnússon, who took over in late 2006, haplessly presided over a tumultuous season which saw them escape relegation on the final day via the illegally-fielded Carlos Tevez; after a legal case, the club now has to pay Sheffield United £3.5 million annually in compensation. The Hammers were then swept up in the maelstrom that shook Iceland's economy to the bone, and have had little money to invest in players. This season they remain perched perilously above the relegation zone, with the league's bigger sharks poised to poach their better assets (like Carlton Cole) in January.

A Gold and Sullivan takeover would return the club to British ownership, and Gold is a true local who once turned out for the club's youth team. Sullivan, meanwhile, as one of Britain's most prominent pornographers, would probably appreciate the club's new line of Katy Perry-inspired lingerie. Fans may, however, wish to heed the words of Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan, who has had numerous spats with the pair:

"I think they are disingenuous. The ethics with which they do business, I don't appreciate... They sell dildos for a living. That gives you a judgement on what they may or may not be."

Last Updated 09 December 2009